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02/15/13 02/15/13 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] >> from pacifica, this is "democracy now!" >> we're going to go forward with the plan with the burner. like we talked about. >> the burners are deployed and we have a fireproof >> copy, burners deployed and we have a fire. >> we did not intentionally burn down that cabin to get mr. dorner out. >> as medical examiner's positively identify the remains a fugitive former l.a. police officer christopher dorner,
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police -- questions are being raised about his death. did police intentionally set his hideout on fire? we will speak with norm stamper and radley balko, author of, "rise of the warrior cop: the militarization of america's police forces." then we look at a voting rights. >> all do our part to make sure our god-given rights are protected here at home. that includes one of the most fundamental rights of a democracy, the right to vote. >> after more than 200,000 florida residents alone gave up in frustration without voting due to long lines on election day, president obama announces a new bipartisan commission to fix the nation's broken voting system. we will speak with ben jealous. all of that and more coming up. this is "democracy now!,", the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman.
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senate republicans have blocked the nomination of senator chuck hagel to become the next secretary of defense in a move blasted by democrats. republicans said they want more information first from the white house about events surrounding the fatal attack on u.s. diplomatic mission in benghazi, libya last september. this is republican senator john cornyn of texas. >> the majority leader knows full well the reason why the debate -- closing off debate was denied was because a reasonable request been made on the site for additional information. i hope and trust it will be provided here in the next few days. and when we come back from the recess, we will have another vote and another opportunity for senators to express themselves. but this is not any attempt to kill this nomination. this is not a filibuster. >> democrats are vowing to revive hagel's nomination following the recess next week.
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despite republican denials, senate -- bitter majority leader harry reid said the block or isn't it an historic filibuster. >> not a single nominee for secretary of defense ever in history of the country has been filibustered. >> chuck hagel is a former republican senator who is faced criticism for straying from the party line on iran and iraq war and making comments perceived as critical of israel. president obama touted credentials during online video chat. >> chuck hagel, by the way, was a member of the republican caucus, a colleague of all of these folks who mcconnell another's consistently praised when he was still in the senate, who has two purple hearts, was an extraordinary soldier, was the head of the u.s. though and
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served on the senate foreign relations committee and is praised by people like george h.w. bush's national security adviser and colin powell and others is eminently qualified to be secretary of defense. >> for rain authorities say they're probing the deaths of the teenager and a policeman during mass protests and clashes marking the second anniversary of bahrain's pro-democracy uprising. the 16-year-old boy was reportedly shot by authorities at close range on thursday. in russia, about 40 people were reportedly injured when the meteorite shot across the sky and dropped balls of fire down to earth. video shows the meteorite blazing a brilliant path of light across the sky. mass panic ensued as car alarms went off and windows shattered. authorities said most injuries were minor and resulted from
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flying glass. authorities in california say the body found inside a burned out cabin in california is that a former police officer and shooting suspect christopher dorner. dorner is accused of waging a campaign of terror against his former employer, the los angeles police department, and will ultimately killing four people, including a sheriff's deputy caught in a shootout at the cabin. dorner had accused the department of racism and corruption. officials deny they intentionally set a fire that gutted the cabin where dorner was hiding, but amid the blaze was ignited by their pyrotechnic-style tear-gas canisters known as burners. dorner's scorched remains had to be identified by dental records. we will have more later in the broadcast. american airlines and u.s. airways have announced plans to merge, creating the world's largest airline. in an editorial in "the new york times" called for antitrust regulators to probe the merger, which would put more than 70% of
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passenger business under the control of four airlines. senate democrats have announced a plan to avert automatic spending cuts set to kick in under the looming sequestration. the proposal includes a series of cuts as well as tax hikes, primarily on millionaires. earlier this week, top military leaders appeared before congress to urge a delay to the automatic cuts. the pentagon is set to lose $46 billion in funding come march under president obama spending bill with republicans. martin dempsey, the chair of the joint chiefs of staff, and general raymond odierno, a u.s. army chief of staff, said the cuts could bring about a crisis of military readiness. >> even if we got all of the authority in the universe to deal with it, this would be the steepest, biggest reduction in total obligating authority for the defense department in the history at a time when i will personally attest to the fact is more dangerous than it has ever been.
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>> we have and will continue to do our part, the significance of these budget reductions will directly impact our ability to sustain readiness today and into the future. we simply cannot take the readiness of our force for granted. if we do not have the resources to train and equip the force, our soldiers, our young men and women, are the ones who will pay the price. >> a pair of senators have unveiled a comprehensive plan to address climate change in the u.s. the legislation by independent senator bernie sanders of vermont and california democrat barbara boxer aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050. amid other sweeping measures, the bill when it imposed a fee on greenhouse gas emissions law would help fund investments in renewable energy. it would provide rebates to consumers to offset potential price hikes by fossil fuel companies. senator sanders and boxer touted the bill at a news conference wednesday.
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what's the major focus of this legislation is a price on carbon and methane emissions. the fee on the larger fossil fuel polluters in effect last than 3000 entities nationwide, but covers 85% of the u.s. greenhouse gas emissions according to congressional research service. this legislation in the fossil fuel subsidies and protection committed these by requiring that fracking operations comply with the say tricking water act and disclose the chemicals they use. >> the proceeds will create jobs, many jobs, and the rest of the proceeds will reduce the deficit. so the sanders-boxer bill reduces carbon pollution and climate disruption while creating jobs and reducing the deficit. if ever there was a win/win/win, this bill is a win/win/win. >> the largest climate change rally ever is expected in the capital on sunday.
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in the u.s. house, a team of bi- partisan lawmakers has introduced a bill to prohibit the use of armed drones within the united states. the bill would restrict the use of drones by law enforcement, requiring judicial approval and restricting surveillance to criminal acts. u.s. aviation officials are seeking proposals for six sites that would be used to test the use of domestic drones across the country. the former chair the republican party in florida has pled guilty to charges of grand theft and money laundering. jim greer was indicted in 2010 on allegations of steering political donations into his own private accounts. he made waves last year after disclosing top florida republican officials openly discussed suppressing floor is african-american vote. online retailer amazon is facing a scandal in germany amidst allegations it employed security guards with neo-nazi ties in a bid to intimidate foreign workers. a documentary broadcast by germany's ard television channel
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revealed guards in black uniforms, boots and military haircuts commonly searched the living spaces of migrant workers. the firm is called hess security, which ard implied was a reference to adolf hitler's deputy, rudolf hess. as president obama continues his stricter gun control, and the report says his administration has been prosecuting far fewer gun crimes than the bush administration. a research group connected to syracuse university found federal weapons prosecutions have declined to their lowest levels in nearly a decade. president obama is expected to speak about gun violence during an address in his home city of chicago today. a media advocacy group says a record number of journalists were imprisoned around the world last year in what it termed a deteriorating environment for press freedom. the committee to protect journalists says 232 journalists were jailed last year, the
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highest number since surveying began in 1990. 70 journalists were killed in a line of duty, an increase of more than 40% from the previous year. a top native american leader is urging house lawmakers to reauthorize the violence against women act and follow tribal governments to prosecute non- native men who abuse women on tribal lands. jefferson kiel, president of the national congress of american indians, made the remarks thursday in the state of indian nations address. he said the death rate of native women on some reservations is 10 times the national average. nearly 60% of native women are married to non-native men, and according to justice department data, non-native men carry out 70% of reported rapes against native women. >> today, tribes to not have the authority to prosecute non- natives who beat, raped, or even kill women on tribal lands.
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state and federal authorities are often hundreds of miles away without the local resources to investigate crimes. in recent times, u.s. attorneys have declined to prosecute a majority of violent crimes in indian country, most of which are related to sexual abuse. no other government would stand for this violation of sovereignty or continued injustice, no other government should, and no other government has to. the solution is simple. congress must reauthorization the act and assure troubled governments have the authority to prosecute non-native men accused of violence against women on tribal lands. >> the senate has passed a version of the act that allows native american courts to prosecute non-native domestic violence suspects as well as providing new protections for lgbt and undocumented women. house speaker john boehner signaled thursday house
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republicans may be open to considering the senate version after initially blocking the bill's reauthorization over the expanded protections. in more than 200 cities around the world thursday, people flocked to the streets to dance as part of the global 1 billion rising campaign to end violence against women and girls. global actions included marches, rallies, flash mobs, workshops, and lots of dancing. one country the forefront was india, where mass protests cruise the erupted over the gang rape and murder of a young woman on a bus in new delhi. hundreds joined the 1 billion rising action in south africa where and the same day the girlfriend of paralympic star oscar pistorius was shot dead on the outskirts of the capital. the story is known globally as the first double leg amputee to run in the olympics appeared in court today to face a single charge of murder. on thursday, protesters were more focused on his alleged victim, the 30-year-old model
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reeva steenkamp. >> a woman died and i am angry. i'm angry that a woman died again today. whether oscar is guilty or not, i cannot say. all i can say is a woman died and it is one woman too many. >> new york city joined in the global uprising with more than 40 events at museums, parks, stores, and in the streets. this is one of the protesters in times square. >> all revolutionary causes should start with the dressing misogyny. it comes down to a day to day acknowledgement of gender dynamics and our society and a slow but steady work to change those dynamics. >> today marks the 10th anniversary of the historic wave of global protests against the war in iraq. tens of millions of people took to the streets in hundreds of cities around the world to say no to war. the bbc said the protests of london was the largest in the capital's political history.
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protest sites included australia, johannesburg, syria, tokyo, bangladesh, hong kong, puerto rico, brazil, even the south pole. at least half a million rallied in new york city alone 10 years ago. the u.s.-led invasion of iraq would begin just over a month later. and those are some of the headlines. this is "democracy now!,", the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. >> welcome to all our listeners and viewers from around the country and around the world. medical examiners in california say they have positively identified the body of former los angeles police officer christopher dorner, the man authorities say killed four people over the past two weeks in a campaign of terror against the lapd. dorner's body was found in the burned out ruins of a california mountain cabin, ending the most extensive manhunt in california's history. dorner was chased into the cabin on tuesday afternoon and it's a massive gun battle in which one
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san bernadino county deputy was killed and another badly wounded. police said the first -- the first shot conventional tear gas into the cabin but failed to force dorner to flee the house. >> authorities then shot flammable tear gas canisters at the cabin. the building soon erupted in flames and burned to the ground. police had been aware of his possible whereabouts after it broke into a nearby vacation home, tied up a couple there, and made off in their car. the couple managed to free themselves and alert authorities. questions are being raised over whether police intentionally set the cabin on fire. in audio recording from a police scanner appears to show officials from the san bernadino sheriff's department planning to deploy burners. >> steve, we're going to go forward with the plan with the burner. like we talked about. we have a fire. >> copy, burners deployed and we
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have a fire. >> police said the phrase burner referred to a grenade-like canister containing flammable tear gas. in another recording that was aired live on kcal, a police officer can be heard in the background shouting, "were going to burn him out," and "berndt it down." >> we don't know [indiscernible] >> police officers, understandably, a separate >> on wednesday, san chain county
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sheriff john mcmahon admitted his deputies deployed the highly flammable hot gas canisters but denied they intentionally started the fire. >> i can tell you it was not on purpose. we did not intentionally burn down that cabin to get mr. dorner out. the tear gas canisters that we used, first off, we used a presence when we showed up and secondly we used a cold tear gas, then we used our said the next tear gas that which was pyrotechnic. it does generate a lot of heat. we introduced those canisters into the residence and a fire erupted. >> we asked a representative from the sheriff's department join us, but they declined. for more we're joined by two guests. norm stamper, former police chief of seattle, and the author of, "breaking rank: a top cop's exposé of the dark side of american policing." and washington, d.c., joined by radley balko, a senior writer and investigative reporter for the huffington post. he is author of the forthcoming
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book, "rise of the warrior cop: the militarization of america's police forces." it is due out in july. we welcome you both to "democracy now!" norm stamper, can you react to how the san bernadino police department dealt with dorner? the burning down of the cabin? what is your understanding of what happened and what was used? >> i think the sheriff has articulated what might be seen as escalating levels of force. he started with the mere presence of the deputies, presumably surrounding the cabin, then they used cold teargas. then they went to the pyrotechnic or incendiary version of cs gas. whether it was intentional or not, a very predictable outcome
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of deploying seven burners in what appears to have been a wooden cabin would predictably leave it in rubble >> what is your assessment? do you think they should have done that? >> i am not going to second- guess it, but i think over the days and weeks ahead it is imperative that that agency and the rest of the country, all of us riveted by what happened there, understand what decisions were made and why they were made. i can tell you i am troubled by the use of incendiary chemical agents. by definition, these pyrotechnic versions of teargas start fires. they are intended for outdoor use. they're not intended for contained structures, particularly wooden structures. another observation that i think
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there's real careful examination, and that is the almost hysterical command to use those burners. the expletives that were used begin to suggest emotion rather than professionalism, rather than a deliberate approach to extract mr. dorner, if in fact that was possible, or simply not used. >> we're going to go to break and then return to this discussion. norm stamper, former seattle police chief, author of the book, "breaking rank: a top cop's exposé of the dark side of american policing." we're also going to be joined by radley balko, who is writing the book, "rise of the warrior cop: the militarization of america's police forces." after that, we will be joined by ben jealous, president and ceo of the naacp, who will talk about president obama's state of the union address proposal in
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dealing with obstacles to voting. back in a minute. ♪ [music break]
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>> this is "democracy now!,", the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. our guests are former seattle police chief norm stamper and radley balko, huffington post writer, author of the forthcoming, "rise of the warrior cop: the militarization of america's police forces." >> i want to ask chief stamper, you say you have concerns about the use of these incendiary devices. of course, this is not the first time in a major high-profile police action that we have had these devices used and have raised controversy.
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20 years ago this year in 1993 the fbi used incendiary devices to end their siege of the branch davidian compound in waco. at the time, authorities claimed the cult members intentionally burned down the compound rid i want to play a clip of cnn's live coverage from april 15, 1993 when that fire had just begun. >> engulfed the vast majority of this compound. >> the entire roof is gone. >> what else can you tell us? any sign of firefighting equipment? >> none whatsoever. there is our shot that we refer to as the farm-cam. that is looking from the north side into the compound. apparently, the north side is not involved yet, it appears the rest of the compound is filled
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with an orange fire and acrid black smoke. >> within the past 10 days, past week, federal authorities surrounded the compound very close to the compound with razor sharp wire to prevent people from running out. in this case, that may prove to be hazardous. >> still no sign of anyone coming out. >> mike, the latest figures we have is there are 95 people inside, of them 17 or below the age of 10. a total of 25 below the age of 18. >> with cnn coverage from 1993 of the fbi siege of the bridge davidian compound in waco, texas. it was not until much later the fire of war is acknowledged they used incendiary devices, but in -- but insisted they did not contribute to the fire that consumed the compound and left their leader, david koresh, 54 other adults and 28 children
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dead. she stamper, you're familiar with other incidents around the country where these devices have been used. pretty predictable result, as you said, of their use in terms of people who are holed up in a particular were barricaded in a particular compound. >> if you think about the names that applied to this particular weaponry -- pyrotechnic, incendiary, burners -- they all suggest that these devices do in fact start fires. the first thing i thought yesterday and certainly on wednesday was branch davidian and the absolute necessity to learn from these experiences. swat officers particularly have a their command the use of and frequently do employ so-called
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flash bangs or concussion grenades. they are cased in paper or soft plastic. they're not known for starting fires. but what they can do is create great disorientation in the barricaded suspect. i am surprised that particular technology was not used. i think it is vital to understand that unless these officers knew for certain that there were no hostages in that cabin, that the use of the pyrotechnics is doubly questionable. >> radley balko, can you give us the history of the use of these incendiary devices? they are not used that much in fact. >> the incident in waco is the first one that comes to mind. chief stamper and i agree on a lot, but i would disagree the
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moment that flash grenades -- there are a number of fires that i have reported on and others have that were started by flash grenades as well. in this case, were you have an actual someone who was killed a lot of people, certainly, i don't think anyone would object to the flash grenades. they are used pretty frequently in drug raids, people suspected of nonviolent crimes. i think it's become a little more problematic in that situation. >> the history of them from waco to -- >> of the tear gas? >> of the use of these incendiary devices, yes. >> these particular high-profile incidents, i don't know -- chief stamper could probably answer better than i could about how often their you stated day, but i would imagine it is only in situations like this where you have people holed up or in a
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barricade-type situation. chief stamper might be able to answer that better than i could pretty >> why don't we give an example. we have a well-known example of police using incendiary devices on people under siege and a 1985 attack in philadelphia that culminated in the helicopter bombing of the headquarters of a radical group known as move. the far from the attack killed six adults and five children and destroyed 65 homes, an entire neighborhood. despite the two grand jury investigations and a commission finding the top officials were grossly negligent, no one from the city government was criminally charged. the move was a philadelphia- based radical movement that was dedicated to black liberation and a back to nature lifestyle. it was found by john africa, and all its members took on the surname africa. the sole adult survivor of the bombing, ramona africa, told "democracy now!" what had
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happened as the drawn -- as the bomb was dropped on her house. >> after we were attacked with hoses by the fire department and then tons of tear gas, then being shot -- the police admit to shooting over 10,000 rounds of bullets at us in the first 90 minutes -- there was a lull. it was quiet for a little bit. and then without any warning at all, two members of the philadelphia police department's bomb squad got in a pennsylvania state police helicopter and flew over our home and dropped a satchel containing c4, a powerful military explosive that no municipal police department has. they have to get from the federal government, the fbi. without any warning or announcement, they dropped that
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bomb on the roof of our home. at that point, we did not know exactly what they had done. we heard the loud explosion. the house kind of shook. it never entered my mind that they dropped a bomb on us. but the bomb did in fact ignite a fire. not long after that, it got very, very hot in the house and the smoke was getting thicker. at first we thought it was teargas. but as they got thicker, it became clear that this was not tear gas but something else. and then we could hear the trees outside of our house crackling and realized our home was on fire. and we immediately tried to get ou children, our animals, and ourselves out of that blazing inferno. >> that was ramona africa
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describing the 1985 police attack on the house of the radical group move in philadelphia, that left six adults and five children dead. she was the sole adult survivor. i was reporter and cover that particular event in philadelphia. what amazed me and watching the fire unfold was the fire department trucks arrived on the scene, but then for more than an hour, did not turn on their hoses as the house burned. we were later told the move members had attempted to shoot their way out through the back of the house and the was an exchange of gunfire between police and move members. it took a commission report later on, an independent commission to report that in fact some of the members had been shot to death, killed as they came out of the burning
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house. i wanted to ask chief stamper, this whole issue of people trapped in these houses and a fire erupting as a result of police action, what the responsibility of the police is at that point when these fires erupt? even though you may have a criminal or summon your involved in a standoff with, your responsibility as a police officer to try to capture these folks alive at possible? >> your number one responsibility is the protection and preservation of human life. and when we employ tactics of the type given talking about this morning in order to achieve what essentially has transformed itself into a military or certainly military- like mission, when we escalate tension and escalate tactics that predictably lead to death,
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we have violated our most basic, indeed, our most profound responsibility, and that is the protection and preservation of human life. >> i want to play a comment from stephen graham, whose book "cities under siege: the new military urbanism" looks at the increasing influence of military technology on domestic police forces. he spoke to "democracy now!" in 2011. >> there has been a longstanding shift in north america and europe toward their militarize -- paramilitarized policing, using really heavy militarized weaponry. that has been longstanding fuelled by the war on drugs and other sort of explicit campaigns. the more recently, there is been a big push since the end of the cold war by the big defense and security and i.t. companies to sell things like the video
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surveillance systems, things like geographic mapping systems, and even more recently, drone systems that have been used in the assassination raids in afghanistan and pakistan and elsewhere, as sort of a domestic policing technology. >> that is stephen gramham. radley balko, if you could further comment on this, because that is the subject of your upcoming book, "rise of the warrior cop: the militarization of america's police forces." and also talk about the police actions leading up to the ultimate fire and killing of dorner. >> i think the militarization -- i think was troubling enough when it was reserved for drug raids which it was mostly used for comedies tactics throughout recently webut in
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saw it in patrols and what is really disturbing, we are seeing it used not because -- not after a threat the police are facing, but to send a political message. one example i would give is, you see these that are raids on medical marijuana dispensaries in states that have legalized the drug for medical purposes. nobody thinks these dispense series are a threat to agents -- dispensaries are a threat to agents. the show of force is about sending a political message. when the government is using force in deciding how much force it wants to use based on politics and not a realistic assessment of the threat, i think we have entered kind of a scary new territory. the other thing i wanted to mention a little bit here is the
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reaction of the lapd after an officer went down the sort of typical what we have seen in a lot of these cases where when a police officer goes down, there is a mentality -- and i think this goes back to the warrior mindset that we have implicated in to many police officers -- but there is this mentality that all bets are off, then please tell longer have to abide by the rules. one of their own went down, so now they can sort of run roughshod over civil rights because now we have sorted into new territory. we saw this in the last couple of weeks when we saw two separate incidents where police officers opened fire on vehicles that actually did not even look like the truck dorner was supposed to be driving. they were vaguely similar to the truck. in one case, the police officers filled an entire upneighborhood
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with bullets in addition to the truck we saw. this mentality has been reinforced in tv and movies. it is this idea that once a police officer goes down, once someone kills a police officer, everyone's rights are suspended at that point until they take care of the problem. that is a battlefield mentality that i think is the result of this militarization. >> of course, the issue that dorner in his work way attempted to raise, of continuing racism within some of these police departments, clearly -- i want to read an excerpt of the manifesto that dorner posted online when he wrote --
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clearly, this was a man who was taking extreme and criminal actions, but at the same time, was raising issues that resonate and only in many black communities, but even among black officers in many urban police departments. i am wondering your take on this. >> i guess i should say, first of all, it is really unfortunate that there are people who have tried to make dorner into a martyr. you're going to make him a
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martyr for your calls, you're really doing a disservice for your cause. that only did he take out vigilante justice against police officers, he killed two people who are only alleged crime in his mind was been related to a police officer. i think we should point out this guy is and should be a martyr. the problems that he points out have been in the lapd going back to the commission that issued a study before the rodney king riots in the early 1990's, and, yes, he does raise issues. even the initial incident that got him fired where he reported his field training officer kicking a suspect while the suspect was on the ground, i mean, it is sort of well known in police departments that when rookies -- i hope chief stamper will correct me if i am assuming too much -- it is sort of well
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known when you get out of the academy and assigned to a field training officer, that is a time when you are tested to see how much you can be relied upon to defend your fellow officers. sort of the induction period to the blue code of silence. even that incident rings true. it is unfortunate it took a crazy person to get these issues back in the light again. but i do think the l.a. police chief and the lapd deserves credit. they have said they are going to go back and look at these incidents and see if there's any merit to them, which is a pretty admirable thing to say given what was going on at the time. >> norm stamper, what do you want to see come out of this as the former police chief yourself in terms of investigations? >> clearly, we have to look at the tactics from the beginning of this entire operation to its tragic conclusion.
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but i think we also need to look at systemic instances of racism and other forms of discriminatory or bigoted behavior. it is one thing for police chiefs and sheriffs to denounce racism, to announce there will be no tolerance of that kind of behavior, but it is another to actually affect the working culture of police officers. the majority of whom i think have gotten the message. but there are still pockets in every police department that are very pernicious and troubling and need to be rooted out. there are some people who need officersot be police critic rex thank you, norm stamper, former police chief of seattle, author of, "breaking rank: a top cop's exposé of the
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dark side of american policing." thank you to radley balko whose book is coming out in july called, "rise of the warrior cop: the militarization of america's police forces." when we come back, we are going to look at president obama's announcement in the state of the union address looking into the voting process and the electoral system in this country. we will be joined by the head of the naacp, ben jealous. ♪ [music break]
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>> this is "democracy now!,", the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. >> we turn now to voting rights. on tuesday evening, desiline victor -- a 102-year-old miami voter who waited for hours to cast her ballot in the last election -- got a standing ovation during president obama's state of the union address. victor attended the event as a
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guest of first lady michelle obama, and was singled out for praise by president obama. >> we should follow the example of a north miami woman named desiline victor. when she arrived at her polling place, she was told to wait to vote by the six hours. as time ticked by, her concern was not with her tired body or aching feet, but whether folks like her would get to have their say. hour after hour, people say the line to support. desiline is 102 years old. [applause] they erupted in cheers when she finally put on a sticker that read "i voted." [applause]
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there is desiline. >> later in the speech, president obama proposed a solution to the problems victor and others faced. he introduced a commission to improve the voting experience in america. >> defending our freedom is not just the job of our military alone. we must all do our part to make sure our god-given rights are protected here at home. that includes one of the most fundamental rights of a democracy, the right to vote. [applause] when any american, no matter where they live or what their party, are denied that right
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because they cannot afford to wait for five or six or seven hours just to cast their ballot? we are betraying our ideals. [applause] so tonight i am announcing a non-partisan commission to improve the voting experience in america. it definitely needs improvement. i am asking two long time experts in the field, who, by the way, recently were the top attorneys for my campaign and governor romney's campaign, to leave if retweet can fix this. and we will. the american people demand it and so does our democracy. >> for more, we're joined by ben jealous, president and ceo of naacp. desiline victor, 102 years old, turns out now more than 200,000 people, just florida residents
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along, got out of line because they could not wait any more on election day. >> this has been a strategy to suppress the participation of working-class people, of senior citizens, students, who tend to vote for the democrats. it makes it unbearable. you can travel around as i do in different cities and on the wealthy side of town, the lines are moving. here the universities and the poor parts of town, they are stock. if you will, this is the most basic, rudimentary form of voter suppression. what we have seen since 2000 is whether secretary of state for county clerks, the folks who are running it in their county, it has become very politicized. and folks really making explicitly political decisions about where they even put these machines, in some cases, who gets long lines were no lines,
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try to skew the outcome. >> this whole idea commission will resolve these problems. after 2000, we had all this legislation to help america vote act, and things did not improve. isn't part of the problem in state after state, the electoral process is still controlled by supposedly a bipartisan way, but by the party rather than independent commissions that run our elections as in many other countries? >> we have seen -- of the secretary state's office. people coming in with rope partisan purpose. -- with a bipartisan purpose. if the president's call us anything, i hope it will inspire progressives across this country to think deeply and strategically of how they make an impact in improving the situation in their town to come in their state.
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we tend to come on and even years to turn folks off, then go to sleep in the odd years. that is when the other side goes to work. they start changing the rules, changing laws. right now we have voter repression legislation. we have to get back to understanding we have to invest in making the process more fair every year, year in and year out. >> i want to turn to a group called project 21 comprised of prominent african-american conservatives try and help scrap a key part of the voting rights act, section 5, which mandates the pacific areas of the country with a history of racial discrimination when it comes to voting rights need to get federal approval before changing any of their voting procedures for id cherylyn harley lebon told the guardian --
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"now we are in 2013, and the voting rights act was something that came from a historical context. we need to update this law in this part of it is no longer needed." >> john paul stevens said in a supreme court decision that the plaintiffs had failed to make the case that this voter id law is one to be a hindrance or impediment to anyone voting. and, i might add, when the state of georgia passed their voter id law, we saw in the fact the opposite of what the liberals and civil rights organizations allege. in the state of georgia, we saw black voter participation increase after the state of georgia passed their voter id law. these two examples are in direct conflict with what people like
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hilary shelton of the naacp argue, the leadership conference on civil rights, aclu, lead of voters -- all of these groups allege that voter id is going to be an impediment for people to go out and vote. minorities, in particular. elderly. that is just not the case. >> that is cherylyn harley lebon of project 21. >> this is the situation. she needs to get down in the weeds in she's going to talk about the issues. she was talking about georgia. because of our effort, it is taken two or three years to implement the law. the first race after was the 2000 elections when black voter participation that everywhere. they say this was a historical
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problem. actually, the state of alabama's resistance to democracy as continued every decade to the 1970's, 1980's, until today, for decades into the 1980's, they resisted actually having districts that would let blacks be voted into local office, in places across the state. they were forced through a series of losses to ultimately open up their democracy to full participation. they then change the boundaries of a number of cities through these annexations throughout the state and redistricted on that basis. you come to shelby county, where mr. montgomery vs holder, the case headed to the supreme court, one of only two blacks ever to serve on the city council, the only one at the time -- part to annexation, 79%
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black voter participation in his district, afterwards, 29%. the federal government said to alabama, do not hold races in these jurisdictions and to you get back to a district that is fair. they help it anyway. it was in violation of the federal order. they went ahead and put people in office based on rules and lines the federal government to were not constitutional. we have to remember, alabama has been committed to resisting, if you will, federal direction in a way that empowers black people since alabama has existed. >> talk about the importance of this case that will be heard on february 27 and the supreme court on the ability of the government to continue to pre- clear these redistricting by localities that have a history
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of racial discrimination against minority voters. >> the issue is whether the federal government will continue basically a form of confederacy. our latinos have similarly been repressed as well. to stop harm before it happens. this year, what that meant was in states like south carolina, there were not able to switch of their voting rolls very quickly in order to cause mass confusion and exclude basically poor people who are disproportionately black and young, from the ballot box. what will happen is if things go the wrong way, we will see the clock turned back on our country quickly. we will see states like alabama -- like mississippi and georgia and texas bank able to very quickly exclude blacks, exclude latinos from the voting process
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whether it is going citywide or changing the boundaries, whether it is packing people into districts so you can have three black representatives but you get one, what have you, that is the concern. we have states like alabama that is consistently resisting democracy, consistently resisted the implications of the u.s. constitution who simply want to be empowered have full control and be able to exclude blacks systematically from their democracy. >> at want to turn to fox for a minute, host brian kilmeade and martha maccallum and bill hammered belittling the difficulties of desiline victor, 102 years old, who endured hours to be able to vote in november. >> voting reform? >> politics is manpower critic rex they could change that the municipal level. it the town council on that one.
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>> low hanging fruit. >> listen, the 102-year-old woman should not be online. >> i agree with the. >> why not? what is the big deal? she was happy could she waited in line and voted. >> they held her up as a victim. what was she a victim of? >> did she have rashes on the bottom of her feet? >> it should not be a heroic act to cast a ballot. that is the problem. they are right. the town councils, the state government, the federal government's should be fixing this. >> what is president of women doing? the press release released single, with best practices for it is governor scott want to respect best practices? these are recommendations, not mandatory.
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>> our federal government has given far too little power to actually maintain our democracy in a way that france, england, and some other western democracies do. we have a very federal system. the biggest power the president has run out is the power of the -- by calling for this commission, if nothing else, he inspires the country to admit we have a problem and begin solving it. the recommendations will be held for the visual of two men who were very partisan in their respective parties and seen as proponents of the other party coming together to figure out what we can do together is important. we have started to see some conservatives come to the defense of the voting rights. there have been taken >> ben jealous, president of
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Democracy Now
LINKTV February 15, 2013 8:00am-9:00am PST

News/Business. Independent global news hour featuring news headlines, in depth interviews and investigative reports. (CC) (Stereo)


TOPIC FREQUENCY Stamper 10, U.s. 9, America 9, California 6, Alabama 6, Us 5, Philadelphia 5, Georgia 5, Amy Goodman 4, Radley Balko 4, Seattle 4, Norm Stamper 4, Naacp 4, Florida 4, Chuck Hagel 3, Christopher Dorner 3, Juan Gonzalez 3, Texas 3, New York City 2, Mr. Dorner 2
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